Razzle Dazzle

The Sanosafe Troupe Spectacular is the biggest underage dance competition in Australia. Following a documentary crew, audiences are taken into two dance studios to witness the cut and thrust of pre-teen dancing. Miss Elizabeth (Jane Hall) is the iron fisted curator of an award winning studio who leaves nothing to chance to better her main rival, Mr Jonathon (Ben Miller). Mr Jonathan uses his young toe tappers as a tool to further his radical agenda becoming famous for insightful works such as ‘The Kyoto Protocol Shuffle’.
Razzle Dazzle’s success lies in its ability to get under the skin of some very unlikeable people. From pushy stage mothers like champagne sipping Justine (Kerry Armstrong) to the dance directors, how the young girls can withstand all that to actually participate in the grand final is amazing. The satire is delivered in cynical brush strokes, painting a bleak picture of people who generally have empty lives. Ben Miller as Mr Jonathon is a revelation, with his idealism effectively squeezing the entertainment factor out of the dance routines - something which reflects the mindset of certain entertainers these days who feel it necessary to ‘deliver a message’.
The ghastliness of the dancers’ mothers is cringe inducing, with one of them - Barbara (Denise Roberts) - only fostering children who show ‘good rhythm and movement’. The selfishness of all involved adds to the horror to the reality that this actually happens. Despite these somewhat disturbing elements, the film is quite funny thankfully not afraid to really go for the jugular in its targets.
The actors seem to have a fine time with their shallow roles. Despite Ben Miller having a major role, this is primarily a female dominated film with the actresses showing off their dance witches with relish. The costuming and dance numbers are well developed as expected, with an appearance by a group of dancers dressed up as members of KISS upping the kitsch factor considerably. The ‘mockumentary style’ used works reasonably well, although at times it becomes ‘a film’ and not an actual documentary as it should have done - leading to the actors delivering a performance rather than being ordinary people in front of a camera.
This is a consistently enjoyable film driving along at a good pace. With the pre-teen dance competitions being big business in America, it can only be hoped that it doesn’t get any worse here as the ones in Razzle Dazzle are bad enough!
Rating out of 10: 7

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